Advocate General to take up case for NI students going to Scots Universities?

Interesting snippet from across the water regarding the £9k fees students from Northern Ireland now have to pay if they want to follow what’s become for many a traditional route to graduation at Glasgow, Edinburgh, or St Andrews. Dundee even runs a fairly successful degree course in Northern Irish law.

The Rutherglen Reformer reports a spat in the House of Lords:

Peers from all sides angrily hit out at the “unfairness” of allowing Scottish students to study for free at universities north of the border, while those from the rest of the UK had to pay up to £9,000 a year.

Advocate General for Scotland Lord Wallace of Tankerness agreed to take up the issue with his ministerial colleagues, but he also warned that to challenge the Scottish Parliament’s policy risks undermining the principles of devolution.

Cross-party unrest over the imposition of tuition fees north of the border emerged during committee stage debate on the Scotland Bill, which hands further powers to the Scottish Parliament.


  • FuturePhysicist

    It may well turn out to be a good investment. Better to pay a Scottish university £9000 a year and compete for a graduate job, than pay £3000 a year and compete to get first in line for the Jobseeker’s Allowance.

  • galloglaigh

    Very good point FP!

    The point made about undermining devolution is interesting. Westminster gives a budget (in monetary terms) to Holyrood. That is given to govern the people of Scotland. The powers for spending this money is given to the minister, in this case, of education. If he wants to give free university places to those under his remit, he’s entitled to do it. He’s using his mandate to secure places in Scotland, for Scotland.

  • GoldenFleece

    Galloglaigh, even if that means discrimination on the basis of where you are born within a country?

    Then it is true what Orwell wrote: All men are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  • galloglaigh


    I think you mean within a state? Education policy in Scotland, is set by the Scottish Education & Lifelong Learning Minister. He makes decisions that are in the interests of the Scottish people. Not the people of the entire state of the UK. It’s called devolution.

    It’s also true what Rabbie Burns wrote:

    Some hae meat and canna eat,

    And some wad eat that want it;

    But we hae meat, and we can eat,

    And sae the Lord be thankit.

  • Mick Fealty

    It ought to be a boon for NI campuses. Taking the Scottish unis out of the market for all but the wealthy ought to make Queens and UU more attractive, and more competitive for NI’s high achievers.

  • galloglaigh


    It might help Magee’s case for extra numbers more relevant? Our brain drain will still continue though, for the very reasons outlined by FuturePhysicist. Question Time was interesting this week. Fair play to Phil Redmond; a man with his eye on the ball. We need investment in apprenticeships, and indeed jobs for our young. Add well educated graduates in Engineering and software technology, you create a base for economic growth. With a skilled workforce, we can develop a base for manufacturing and export.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Mick, what jobs are being created for the high achievers here?

    The brain drain will continue because unless you manage to progress your career as a university doctorate student, you’ll need to be courting the subsidised companies and small project engineering firms about the broad scope of your course or face the prospect of long term unemployment.

    The alternative to the brain drain is to boomerang, or perhaps drop out and be something like a journalist I guess. The closest thing to being the stereotypical student except more flexible deadlines, less independent validation and a lot more money.